Paninis are just fancy grilled cheese sandwiches. The Mushroom and Manchego Panini is an excellent version of this sandwich. Ample Bites made them using shiitakes and button mushrooms. The sherry vinegar and fresh thyme in the mushroom mixture gives the sandwich nice punch. I had a few mushrooms leftover. They will make an appearance on our pizzas this week.
If you don’t have a panini press you can simply use a heavy skillet and place a dish with a little weight to it on top of the sandwich to press it. You will have to flip the sandwich halfway through cooking.
Mushroom and Manchego Panini
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine, March 2012)
1 tsp unsalted butter
¼ cup minced shallots
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces sliced exotic mushrooms (shiitake, cremini and/or oyster)
8 ounces sliced button mushrooms
1 ½ Tbsp sherry vinegar
8 slices of sourdough or multi-grain bread
3 ounces shaved Manchego cheese
1 garlic clove, halved
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add shallots, thyme, minced garlic and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 10 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently. Add vinegar; cook 30 seconds or until liquid almost evaporates.
Divide the mushroom mixture evenly among four bread slices. Top evenly with cheese and remaining bread slices.
Heat a Panini press. Coat the press with cooking spray. One at a time add sandwiches to the press and close, pressing down slightly to flatten. Cook sandwiches 3 minutes or until the cheese melts and bread is toasted.
Rub the top and bottom of each sandwich with cut side of garlic clove and serve immediately.